12.04 2018 01:50h
12.04 2018 01:50h

How The Cambridge Analytica Scandal Has Affected Influencer Marketing Around The World

And we're already seeing drastic changes here in the UAE
by @Laura Andrea Kell

It's only April, but Mark Zuckerberg hasn't been having a good year.

Last month, the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke causing many Facebook fans to question how secure their data is within the hands of the social network giant.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Cambridge Analytica is a political data mining firm that was hired by President Donald Trump’s campaign before the 2016 election. The firm collected information on up to 87 million Facebook users.

While some users consented to sharing their information with the third-party it’s been revealed others didn’t. And this is where the pronlem occured.

 

Zuckerberg appeared twice before U.S. Congress this week, sharing his testimony on the data breach. He also touched on the issue of Russian agencies spreading misinformation in 2016 on the platform during the presidential election campaign. 

"I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here," Zuckerberg said.

 

In his statement, the Facebook founder and CEO outlined the steps the network will be taking to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. It's clear Zuckerberg and his team plan on cracking down on the amount of personal information third-party apps will be able to access. But how will this affect influencer marketing?

Most people think a privacy policy update on Facebook wouldn't affect influencers and brands, but some are already dealing with the repercussion of Zuckerberg's changes. After all Instagram, a platform favoured by many influencers within the region and valued tool in the influencer marketing industry, is owned by Facebook.

The photo-sharing platform recently "choked" off developers’ access by unexpectedly changing its API on April 4.

This means third-party apps, that collect information on an account's followers and measure an influencer's level of influencer, are now facing huge limitations on what they can access on Instagram. This includes influencer monetisation platforms (i.e. networks that make an influencer's feed "shoppable"), like RewardStyle's liketoknow.it, and social media monitoring platforms like Crowd Analyzer. 

According to the Business of Fashion, " . . . the Instagram shopping service could no longer use the 'likes' on influencer posts to send registered users emails with associated product information and buy buttons. It was one of the unexpected repercussions from Instagram parent company Facebook’s tightened privacy policy amid a cascade of criticism in the wake of the platform’s Cambridge Analytica data privacy debacle." 

 

The Busines of Fashion also notes that an Instagram spokesperson has said that in place of the old API, the company is expanding the new Instagram Graph API. This is supposedly designed for business profiles, and will include access to metrics on content performance and comment moderation. But the changes to the old API still apply to both personal and business accounts.

Some speculate that influencers who are still using a personal Instagram account to conduct influencer activities, will eventually be forced to switch over to a business account. This may become mandatory if an influencer wants to continue using third-party services to sell products and obtain data on their following, outside of the metrics provided by the platform.

But right now influencers and brands are faced with challenges that won't be resolved overnight.

All of us in the influencer marketing world will just have to sit tight, while engineering teams at our favourite third-party apps try to come up with "workarounds" to solve the issue - if they can, that is.

Have Facebook's new privacy changes affected you? Let us know in the comments below.

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